Firefighter Jay WatsonRecruit Class 8 is now serving at a fire station near you! Get to know Madison's newest firefighters.

Where are you stationed?
I'm at Station 13 (6350 Town Center Drive) on the B shift.

Why did you want to work in Madison?
I grew up in Madison on the east side. My first job was at my Grandpa’s restaurant, Jamerica, which was across from Station 3. I admired the firefighters who responded to calls. It wasn’t later in life that many of my friends on the department encouraged me to apply. The opportunities for growth, development, advancement in training, and to protect this community were a big attraction.

What has been the most rewarding part of your experience so far?
For me, it was during graduation, to see my daughter light up during the pinning of my badge on stage. It told me the 16 weeks of physically and mentally demanding training were worth it. I wouldn’t trade this opportunity for the world.

Since graduating the Academy, what are among the most memorable experiences you've had?
My first week at my station, we responded with multiple crews to a fire incident on one of the coldest nights recorded this year for the city.

Looking back at the Fire Academy, what was the most challenging part?
A major challenge for me was balancing family life and academy life. Juggling responsibilities at home yet still accomplishing the workload was not easy. Thanks to a supporting cast of my wife and family and close friends, I was able to see it through to graduation.

What advice would you give to someone hoping to join the MFD?
Be patient, don’t give up trying. It took me 5 tries or 10 years to make it on. The Academy is demanding both mentally and physically. So take steps forward for this career. As it was suggested to me, join one of the many surrounding departments to gain experience in the field. This will give a better understanding as to the type of commitment required of those who respond to calls daily.

Anything else you'd like to share about yourself?
I was a Personal Trainer for seven years with Anytime Fitness. I also served eight years on the Sun Prairie Fire Department as firefighter, four of those years as a career firefighter and peer fitness trainer for the department, building awareness in health and wellness.

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Category: Station 13, General